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The Emergent EU Policy on Asylum and Refugees

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The Treaty of Amsterdam situates European asylum policy within a new institutional framework which is analysed with regard to the question how much progress has been achieved in this policy area. The assessment is based on an examination of asylum policy under the Maastricht Treaty and an analysis of its deficiencies. The output produced during the Maastricht era is evaluated by applying a measuring scale consisting of criteria such as efficiency, impact, democratic and judicial control, inner consistency, and respect for international obligations of member States. The analysis shows that the Maastricht Treaty neither provided a functioning nor an adequate framework for asylum policy on the European level. Instead of cautious cooperation of national approaches the policy area requires European harmonisation by issuing binding common texts which are interpreted in a unified manner. An important step in this direction will be taken by virtue of the Amsterdam Treaty which, however, also contains several potential obstacles to the harmonisation process. Furthermore, the increased access to binding legal instruments is not accompanied by an appropriate increase of democratic participation.

Affiliations: 1: Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany

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